Since new federal bankruptcy regulations took effect late last year, Iowa offices that help folks get out of debt have been swamped. Karen Atwood is executive director of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northeast Iowa. Atwood says out of the hundreds of people they’ve seen, virtually all of them are in dire circumstances. Atwood says “We have not seen people who can repay their debt. I think overall, in the entire agency, if three people have been seen who actually have some money to repay their debt, that’s a lot. And in the first six months, we saw 751 clients.” That’s 751 clients just seeking bankruptcy counseling, two-thousand clients in six months overall. That compares to 18-hundred clients in all of last year. Atwood says the legislation, which forces people to get counseling before they can file for bankruptcy, is helping financially educate people. She says everyone is learning about budgets, they’re choosing goals and looking at their spending. They’re required to spend an hour-and-a-half in counseling before going to an attorney’s office to file bankruptcy, and then another two hours of credit education counseling after they file. Atwood says practically everyone could benefit from a solid financial education before they dig themselves into a monetary hole. She says to sit down with your spouse or significant other and get everything on the table. Don’t hide credit problems, bills expenses or budget issues, then go get some advice from a credit counselor before bankruptcy becomes your only way out. The agency is based in Waterloo with offices in Dubuque, Marshalltown, Grinnell, Mason City, Forest City and Ames. For more information, call 800-714-4388 or surf to “www.cccsia.org”.
Related web sites:
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northeast Iowa